Sustaining Growth In Difficult Times Is A Measure Of....

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Sustaining Growth In Difficult Times Is A Measure Of....

Post by ForumAdmin » Thu Oct 30, 2008 9:55 am

....something important - probably.

Exetel made the BRW's list of the 100 fastest growing (private or public) companies in the financial year ending June 30th 2008. To appear in the list a business needed to have achieved an average annual turnover growth in the three years to June 30th 2008 of 44.43% with a staff of less than 200 people.Exetel ranked 83rd in the BRW Fast 100 list (published in the October 30th 2008 edition of BRW) with an average annual growth over the past three financial years of 50% per year. Revenues used were ex GST.

As with the inclusion in the Deloittes Fastest 50 list last year we are pleased with the 'recognition' and we get a degree of (self) satisfaction from outperforming, in some respects, the majority of other small companies in Australia (public or private) - at least as judged by the criteria set by BRW. There is no doubt that the 'recognition' helps in growing our corporate business and it also seems to please our residential customers judged by the large number of communications we received last year after the Deloittes list was published. We will record this event as a news item in our 'History Of Exetel' which we have assiduously kept up to date since the first month of our existence:

http://www.exetel.com.au/news_main.php

(lucky I saved the second October 'spot')

and we will replace the Deloittes logo on the front page of our web site.

Then we will move on.

In the BRW article there is a table listing the the issues stated by the 100 companies (or those that responded to the detailed questionaire sent to the included companies earlier this month) as being the most important for the remainder of 2008 and for 2009. The issues in 2008 and 2009 were stated as being:

2008: Hiring quality staff, Growth strategies, Managing staff, Slowing economic conditions and Margin pressures

2009: Hiring quality staff, Slowing economic conditions, Capital for growth, Managing staff

I remember filling out the questionnaire and I rated four of these 'top concerns' as of zero concern to Exetel with only the access to capital as being a real issue for our future plans. My views on the 'top four' concerns are the reverse of what is alluded to in the questionnaire as my views are these:

Hiring Quality Staff: It seems to be a consensus that hiring 'quality' staff is the major issue to be addressed in the 100 companies surveyed - but that would almost always be the major issue for any commercial enterprise as a commercial enterprise is only the sum of the qualities and capabilities of the people within it. I always find it strange that this, the most obvious requirement of any business, is even mentioned in terms of what are the major concerns of running a business. Without being stupid about this point - saying that your top concern/issue/problem is hiring good personnel seems to mean you have misunderstood what starting and/or running a business is all about. You actually don't start a business if you believe acquiring good personnel is going to be an issue.

Managing Staff: Similarly, stating that "managing staff" is a key major issue seems unbelievably strange to me. All of human existence is based on social interaction and from the time a human being takes their first wavering steps all of their subsequent life is interactions between themselves, hard objects and other human beings of various compatibilities. There is nothing 'special' about "managing personnel" and indeed it's very difficult to use those two words as a phrase without getting the feeling that something is very wrong with what you are trying to say/describe. I doubt that anyone that has been appointed as, or simply become, a "manager" of people wouldn't have failed to grasp with a day or so of being given/assuming a 'management' title that doing what the title suggests is simply not possible. Again, you don't start a business, or involve yourself in a business, if you believe that "managing people" is ever going to be an issue.

Growing The Business: I suppose the only way that any company could have been included in the BRW Fast 100 listing is because, for the past three years they had managed to understand how to grow their businesses by at least an average of 44% over the last three successive years - which isn't an easy thing to do 'organically' and as successive years pass it obviously becomes harder to do as the early years of any business see the highest rates of growth (basically because, of course, any growth from zero is going to be the fastest period of growth in any company's 'life'. If a business has got a sustained (organic) growth record then growing it further shouldn't be an issue - whether it grows as fast or faster in percentage terms isn't going to be as easy, generally, but the growth in revenue/profit terms isn't going to be the hardest task of any planning period - at least not in my experience.

Slowing Economic Conditions: One of business life's great levelers - and I'm not being a smart arse in saying this, is that in any aspect of personal or business life its obviously easier to perform well in easy times. It doesn't mean it's inherently harder to perform well in tougher or very tough times if your performance in good times was based on really sensible operational methods and really sensible and financially prudent funding principles. The reality is that well managed companies perform even better in tough times than in easy times because they are more efficient, carry less risk/debt and are therefore more soundly based than those that have ridden the 'forgiveness' that easy financial times and high growth rates allow. Unless a business has borrowed unwisely or is dependent on the high spending of its customers/prospective customers (real estate, stock broking etc) tougher economic times are more opportunity than barrier to growth - generally speaking.

Assuming the responses to the questionnaire were truthful then I can see little relationship between Exetel and other companies that grow quickly in their first ten or so years of existence. That doesn't mean that Exetel is better or worse in terms of the way it's operated - it just means it's different and also that the questionnaire wasn't as well framed as it might have been. I suppose it also means that for any small company to be more successful than other small companies then, by definition, it has to be different in as many ways as possible to the companies with which it competes.

While this is not particular easy for a company that competes with much larger companies and has to use much of the same 'base components' to construct its products and services as are available to its much larger competitors there is always going to be a Singapore Airlines that manages to use the same components as its competitors but do so much better with them.

I would like to believe that Exetel can emulate the success of SIA over time. In the meantime its nice to be included in the BRW's Fast 100 companies for 2008.

PM
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Re: Sustaining Growth In Difficult Times Is A Measure Of....

Post by PM » Thu Oct 30, 2008 11:37 am

Congratulations, and well deserved!
Obviously you have been a little harsh on your belief of how well Exetel has really been performing.
This in itself may be part of the reason of the success. Providing your continue with the same business ethics and practices which I think many of your subscribers like me who have a little bit of interest in the business side of how Exetel works can get a glimpse of, then you should see Exetel climb up that list a little higher next year. 83 is a good number though.

To put it another way. If I thought I was being riped off or didn't like the look of the exetel business practice (the little bit of it I've been able to gleen from you're daily musings), and how the company treats its subscribers. Then I (and many others) probably would have left.

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Re: Sustaining Growth In Difficult Times Is A Measure Of....

Post by vk3xem » Thu Oct 30, 2008 2:41 pm

This is obviously great news and all though I have little business understanding it is obvious to me as a customer I have chosen the best ISP. The ethics of Exetel and it's staff are second to none and always look at new and interesting opportunities really does make it exciting ISP to be with.

In the short time I have been with Exetel it is obvious they don't sit back and let the income roll in, with constant improvements to service and expanding of products. Congratulations to Exetel.
The views I present are that of my own and NOT of any organisation I may belong to.

73 de Simon, VK3XEM

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